Intel and Nokia have been sittin' in a tree since February, when they agreed to cross-breed their mobile operating systems and form MeeGo. Now they've identified the next front in the mobile wars: 3D interfaces.
Today's announcement of the Intel and Nokia Joint Innovation centre doesn't come with a lot of hard details about what's to come, just the promise of "interfaces that are more similar to interactions in the real world" through 3D. That means a more immersive experience, like that pictured above, or a hologram of the person on the other end of the line popping up on your phone.
When we'll see the fruits of those labors is an open-ended question; it'll take several months just to staff up the lab. But Intel and Nokia clearly recognise that MeeGo trails Android and iOS distantly, and are counting in part on 3D as being a chance to leapfrog the competition down the road.
And while hardware's not explicitly part of today's news, the two companies are targeting a "broad range of mobile devices"—basically anything that will run MeeGo—meaning phones and tablets will both be outfitted with an extra dimension.
The question remains though: even Intel and Nokia can stuff a 3D interface in your tablet—is that something we all actually want?
Intel and Nokia Create First Joint Laboratory
University Research centre Will Lead to New User Interfaces and Experiences
· Intel Corporation, Nokia and the University of Oulu have announced the establishment of their first joint research centre.
· One of the first objectives of the new lab is to create new and compelling mobile user experiences that leverage the rapidly increasing capabilities of mobile devices.
· The lab is the latest member of Intel Labs Europe – Intel's European Research Network.
OULU, Finland, Aug. 24, 2010 – Intel Corporation, Nokia and the University of Oulu officially opened the Intel and Nokia Joint Innovation centre today. It will employ about two dozen R&D professionals and become the latest member of Intel's European Research Network, Intel Labs Europe.
Initially the lab will conduct research for new and compelling mobile user experiences that could leverage the rapidly increasing capabilities of mobile devices. Creating interfaces that are more similar to interactions in the real world can enable experiences that are more natural and intuitive, in the same way that modern games and movies are more immersive through the use of realistic 3-D graphics.
The new lab is well aligned with the MeeGo open source platform recently launched by Intel and Nokia. MeeGo provides the greatest flexibility for developing new 3-D experiences on mobile devices as much of the lab's research activity will also be open source.
"The University of Oulu's focus on future telecommunications solutions as well as electronics and photonics made it the perfect location for the Intel and Nokia Joint Innovation centre," says Justin Rattner, Intel chief technology officer and director of Intel Labs.
Another potential area of research could look into technologies that allow displaying a 3-D hologram of the person you are talking to on the phone, a capability only found in science fiction movies today. Consumers will feel more involved and engaged with their mobile experience than with current methods.
"3-D technology could change the way we use our mobile devices and make our experiences with them much more immersive," said Rich Green, Senior vice president and chief technical officer, Nokia. "Our new joint laboratory with Intel draws on the Oulu research community's 3-D interface expertise, and over time will lay down some important foundations for future mobile experiences."
The lab will be located at the centre for Internet Excellence at the University of Oulu, and will work closely with the Oulu Urban Living Labs, which provide a unique environment for sensor research, testing and piloting technological and social innovations. The Intel and Nokia Joint Innovation centre follows a successful industry and academia collaboration model similar to the ones of Intel Labs Barcelona and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Spain, the Intel Visual Computing Institute and the Saarland University in Germany or Intel Labs Berkeley at the University of California at Berkeley in the United States.